British Columbia

WestJet warns of days of flight disruptions ahead after system-wide outage

WestJet says travellers should expect more flight disruptions in the days ahead after a system-wide outage that saw more than 200 flights cancelled and others delayed over the weekend.

Airline promises review after data centre issue saw more than 200 flights cancelled, others delayed

A WestJet jet plane parked on the tarmac at an airport.
WestJet said Sunday that its system-wide outage had been fixed but travellers would face further disruptions in the coming days. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

WestJet is warning of days of delays to come, after a system-wide outage hit the airline on Saturday.

The airline cancelled more than 200 flights throughout the weekend, while other flights faced significant delays.

In a statement Sunday afternoon, WestJet's chief operating officer Diederik Pen said although the airline's systems were back online, they remained unstable and disruptions were ongoing.

"Further delays and cancellations in the coming days will be required, as we work diligently to recover our operations," he said.

Pen said the outage stemmed from a cooling issue in WestJet's primary data centre, and the airline had to rely on backup options and manual processes until its systems were restored.

He also conceded WestJet's communication with travellers was lacking throughout the incident.

"We understand we let our guests down," he said, promising a review of the incident.

Travellers were still facing long call wait times to reach WestJet's contact centre, and Pen appealed to customers not to call unless their flight was within 72 hours.

Earlier, WestJet said its contact centre was unable to access guest reservations due to the outage.

Travellers should check WestJet's website or app for updated travel times. They will receive emails from the airline about rebooking options.

Travel plans on ice

Daren and Lisa St. Pierre were hoping to fly to Las Vegas on Sunday. The couple from Lorette, Man., planned the trip with their daughter to celebrate Daren's 55th birthday on Tuesday. 

While their 24-year-old daughter has already left for Vegas, Daren and Lisa remained at the Winnipeg airport on Sunday. They were told in an email Sunday morning that their flight from Toronto to Vegas was cancelled, but not given a reason, said Lisa.

"I wanted to cry," she told CBC on Sunday. The couple both phoned WestJet in the morning and were on hold for four hours, she said, before eventually getting through to an agent.

They were told they could fly together to Vegas and arrive on Nov. 8, or fly separately to Edmonton and Vancouver, where they could catch connecting flights to Vegas sooner.

They decided to try to catch the separate flights.

"Hopefully we make it, because she said they can't even guarantee we'll still make it," Lisa said.

With files from Özten Shebahkeget, Laura McQuillan and The Canadian Press